Press Peyton Manning is the excitable type, Danny Wuerffel isn’t.
On Saturday, the Heisman Trophy contenders will find out which approach works when No. 2 Tennessee plays No. 4 Florida in the long-awaited rematch between the SEC powers.
“I’m kind of ready to go right now,” Manning said. “You play college football for games like this. Especially with people talking about this being one of the best SEC games in history… . It’s going to be fun.”
The Gators (2-0), who trailed the Volunteers 30-14 before rolling to a 62-37 win in last year’s game, arrive in Knoxville as slight underdogs, but Wuerffel holds one advantage. He’s 3-0 against the Vols.
“Sometimes, you can’t explain why things happen,” said Wuerffel, who threw six TD passes and ran for another in last year’s game. “Sometimes they go your way, and sometimes they don’t.”
The ‘95 game was the turning point for both teams. The Gators went on to win the SEC championship and went 12-0 before losing 62-24 to national champion Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl. The Vols haven’t lost since, finishing last season 11-1 and winning their first two games in ‘96.
With an NCAA-record crowd of 107,000 expected at Neyland Stadium and so much at stake, it’s been tough to contain the enthusiasm.
The Gators broke first, with defensive end Tim Beauchamp one of two players criticizing the Vols’ offensive line. He also took a swipe at Manning.
“He gets rattled,” Beauchamp said. “He has real jumpy feet, and he holds the ball out here, and we’ve got a chance to strip that ball.”
Beauchamp could be right, but Wuerffel may give the Vols defense more problems than it can handle … No. 4 Florida (plus 3) at No. 2 Tennessee … FLORIDA 35-31.
No. 3 Florida State (minus 27) at North Carolina State (tonight): Seminoles outscored Wolfpack 173-23 in last three meetings … FLORIDA STATE 47-10
No. 1 Nebraska (minus 23-1/2) at No. 17 Arizona State: ‘Huskers return to site of ‘95 national title victory … NEBRASKA 42-21
No. 5 Penn State (minus 27-1/2) at Temple (at Giants Stadium): Nittany Lions have not lost to Owls in 55 years (27-0-1) … PENN STATE 56-13
No. 9 Notre Dame (minus 3-1/2) at No. 6 Texas: Longhorns won’t collapse in fourth quarter like last year … NOTRE DAME 28-24
Pittsburgh (plus 35-1/2) at No. 7 Ohio State: Another 70-point game is possible for Buckeyes … OHIO STATE 52-7
Boston College (plus 22) at No. 8 Michigan: Wolverines get win No. 500 at Ann Arbor … MICHIGAN 35-10
Georgia Tech (plus 10i-1/2) at No. 11 North Carolina: Tar Heels are 7-0-1- vs. Tech at Kenan Stadium … N.C. 24-10
No. 13 Alabama (minus 7) at Arkansas (at Little Rock): ‘Bama avenges last year’s one-point loss … ALABAMA 35-17 No. 21
LSU (plus 7) at No. 13 Auburn: Tigers contains Kevin Faulk … AUBURN 28-18
No. 15 Southern Cal (minus 19) at Houston: USC averaging 47 points in last two games … USC 35-21
No. 16 Kansas State (minus 20-1/2) at Rice: K-State allows 5.7 points per game … KANSAS STATE 31-7
Rutgers (plus 28-1/2) at No. 18 Virginia Tech: Hokies’ Shyrone Stith and Brian Edmonds run Knights into ground … VIRGINIA TECH 31-0
No. 19 Iowa (minus 17-1/2) at Tulsa: Hawkeyes move to 3-0 as Big Ten team plays first game at Skelly Stadium … IOWA 41-14
No. 20 Virginia (minus 18) at Wake Forest: Cavs have 12-game winning streak over improved Demon Deacons … VIRGINIA 24-21
No. 23 Syracuse (minus 8) at Minnesota: Donovan McNabb snaps out of first-game funk … SYRACUSE 27-13
Arizona (plus 5-1/2) at No. 24 Washington: Rashaan Shehee solves Wildcats’ defense … WASHINGTON 24-14
No. 25 Oregon (plus 2) at Washington State: Series tied 33-33-7 … OREGON 35-34
Last week: 11-3 (straight); 6-8 (spread). Season: 39-8 (straight); 18-24-2 (spread) :